Read: Jonah 1
Reflect: I remember a song that I used to sing with my children. The lyrics were: Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe. Doing exactly what the Lord commands… Action is the key, do it immediately… Submitting to authority, leaving to God the rest… And you spell it O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E. Yes, Sir! I wanted to teach them how important it is to trust both the authority and foresight of their parents, but more important, of their God. Obedience honors God.
God asked Jonah to be obedient. He was commanded to go to the land of Nineveh. Remember, Nineveh was a place where Hebrews were hated and mistreated. Jonah was to preach to the enemies of his people about the coming wrath of God if the Ninevites did not repent. Jonah knew God to be gracious and forgiving. Jonah definitely did not want the Ninevites to receive forgiveness. Afterall, the Ninevites flayed people alive and had some of the world’s worst torture practices that have ever peppered history books. So, Jonah ran the opposite direction. However, God intervened.
Jonah’s eventual obedience brought about an understanding and belief in the one true God for the sailors and Ninevites. Notice that his initial running and failure to obey God put all of the group on the ship in mortal danger. If Jonah had immediately obeyed God by going straight to Nineveh, he could have saved himself and the sailors much hardship.
Jonah’s delayed obedience to God’s directive and the ultimate repentance of the people in Nineveh didn’t magically erase the grievous sins the Ninevites had committed against the Hebrews. But there is no free pass on obedience when it comes to sharing God’s love and forgiveness with everyone, even those “Ninevites” in our own lives who we think are undeserving. God came to forgive and save us all.
Apply: What about you and me? Are there people we believe deserving the full wrath of God because of things they have done? Are there those you would like to suffer the same pain as they have inflicted on you? Who are the difficult ones that God is asking you to share His love and forgiveness with? How about stop running and start obeying? After all, obedience is the very best way to show that we believe. And you spell it O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E. Yes, Sir! It can save both us and others hardship and have an eternal impact. Yes Sir!!!